Tag Archives: MG

Toolbox 26: Some Advice on Writing for the Middle Grade Audience

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.


The Basics

  • Overall Readership : 8 – 13 years old
  • Approximate Word Count 30,000 – 55,000 words
  • Main Character suggested ages : 9 – 14 years

The audience is broken into two.

Lower Middle Grade

Are aimed the younger readers ranging from 8 to 10 years old.

Upper Middle Grade

The older MG readers aged from 10 to 13 years old.

General Tips

Point of view: first person is the most popular right now.

Like books for all ages, there must be an outstanding first sentence and a hook. Humour is encouraged throughout the work to relieve the inevitable tension. Keep the story moving. Not all of it has to action, action, action. But if there is a quiet scene, best to be in the hero/heroine’s head working out emotions or planning their next move. Stakes are also important and must be made clear and age appropriate.

For example, if the hero sneaks out they will be grounded not shot.


All genres are welcome.


They are the same as young adult, however, when writing a mystery there are specific guidelines to consider:

  • No romance—puppy love and crushes on teacher—are fine
  • Crimes are kid’s size. For example: finding something that’s lost: doll, bike, pet, homework, treasure, parents, catching someone that is tagging and leaving graffiti, damaging property, following someone—a kid—that is sneaking around. Detective snoops around out of pure curiosity, etc.
  • With most children’s books the less the tech the better—it makes the story timeless and it can be discovered by children over and over again.

Things to avoid:

  • Not using a middle grade voice. Wondering what it is? Hang with some 10-13 year old kids.
  • Preaching, teaching or being uppity. Meaning the reader is young and reading for entertainment. Not to be talked down to or taught something.
  • No adults allowed. Meaning they can parent and make dinner, but mostly the kids are living the adventure without parental help.

Gleaned from: